In today's Monday Morning Quarterback, several federal workers and retirees offer comments on the current budget cutting process, which is hitting the civil service community especially hard.
One writer proposes a way for the 4 million federal and military retirees to send Congress a message. A Defense Department worker pleads for an "early out" so the government can save money and he can save his sanity. And a longtime civil servant says he will gladly go along with changes in his pension plan, if the government will go back to the day he started work and pay him what he really was worth.
This is what some of your federal friends, neighbors and co-workers are saying:
*"As a result of increases in my condo fee, real estate taxes, health insurance and other costs, I find it necessary to implement my own deficit-reduction program. Its cornerstone is my response to requests for funds from political organizations to which I have contributed in the past. I return each solicitation form with the following note: 'No more contributions until the federal retirees' cost-of-living adjustment is restored.' If other federal retirees would do likewise, perhaps the people on Capitol Hill would get the message." A.M., Silver Spring.
*"We need early retirement in the Defense Department. Things can't keep on this way. The meat axe is out at my command. Longtime, hard-working employees are being downgraded and jobs abolished. On Monday you get an award for saving millions of dollars, and on Tuesday you're told your job is being abolished.
"The hit teams operate under the cover of names like Manpower Study or Performance-Oriented Study. It costs taxpayers millions of dollars for these studies. The sad part is, the people making them couldn't manage a telephone booth.
"If jobs must be eliminated why not let attrition -- aided by an 'early out' -- do the work?" Ready to Go in Arlington.
*"By the government's own figures, federal pay is less than in the private sector . . . now running about 20 percent behind.
"Now some idiot says the federal pension system must be overhauled because it doesn't match private industry.
"Let's make a deal . . . . Go back over my 30 years' service and compute what my salary should have been compared with industry. Reimburse me for each year up to present. Do that for all government employees.
"Once that is done, they can justly bring our retirement system in line with private industry. Ridiculous, you say? Well, if it is, so is the proposed change in the federal pay and retirement system." C.R.R., Sterling
*"Civil service and military retirees have been bemoaning the loss of their cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). I, too, am a military and civil service retiree who opted for the combined service plan upon leaving civil service. I am also a Social Security recipient.
"However, I think everyone should bear part of the load in an effort to reduce the deficit. For far too long, this government has been on a collision course resulting in more outgo than income.
"As a result, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings act may be painful: As we sow, so shall we reap!
"The cost-of-living adjustment cutback should have applied to Social Security, also. And it would have, except that a lot of liberal congressmen are more concerned with getting reelected than in the overall welfare of the nation." L.L.A., Vienna